Monday we started cleaning up around the outside of the house and began throwing all of the junk in the back of the truck. It’s now Thursday and I have been hauling around all of this junk the entire week. I told David there had to be some kind of life lesson in all of this. So, today I took Carter to Valdosta to pick out his birthday present. We looked around the train aisle (of course!) and settled on a track extension kit that gave him some hills and tunnels. You would have thought I had given him the moon! The child was ecstatic! He held the box in his lap all the way home and he looked at me with a big grin and said, “Mama, wook. New tracks. TANK YOU!!” It filled my heart to know that this simple gift meant so much to him.
Then it hit me. He was excited and happy, and he shared those emotions with me. He gave me the privilege to see him. Then tears filled my eyes as I reflected on so many times growing up when I received a fabulous gift and showed little to no emotion even though I was thrilled inside. Or I was super-excited about a trip, but I held it in because I didn’t want to get let down if it didn’t happen. Somewhere along the line I convinced myself that it was better to hide my emotions so that I didn’t reveal my vulnerable self to others, but in doing so, I robbed others of getting to see the real me.
The older I’m getting the more I find myself gravitating towards people who are real. It’s a joy to know when they are happy or sad, struggling or rebelling. It’s so much easier to be there for others when they wear their deepest emotions on the outside instead of masking them with a well-manicured facade. I feel more connected, more aware, more able to love them where they are .
And yet, I find myself struggling to do the same. I hear the lies I believed for so many years that people won’t love me if they knew what I was feeling. I hear the enemy tell me that I will be judged and others won’t want to be around me. I find myself believing that I will get hurt if I allow myself to be vulnerable by sharing my heart.
But then a truck-bed filled with junk and an almost-three year old pull me back to reality.
Oh, God, may I be real with the ones that I love. May I open my heart and share my emotions freely. Help me not to throw up my protective mask, but to allow others to get close enough to know my ups and downs, joys and sorrows. Teach me how to be real.